Review: Starship: Mutiny by Mike Resnick
The first novel in the Starship series, Mutiny, by Mike Resnick is a very enjoyable space opera romp. In fact, I was unable to put it down and finished it in one day.
The Teddy Roosevelt is a ship to which the Republic Navy assigns officers and crewpersons it wants to forget about; it is essentially a career dead end patrolling the remote fringes of the galaxy. Out of sight, out of mind. That is, until Commander Wilson Cole arrives on the Teddy R…. Cole is one of those self-confident, innovative, insightful, and heavily decorated officers that constantly shows up his superiors, often through insubordination. Although he says that trouble finds him, most believe he finds trouble.
On his very first watch, Cole discovers the enemy occupying a Republic world and ingeniously maneuvers the Navy to end the occupation. …and is decorated again, although the decorating admiral does it with tightly gritted teeth. Then, Cole begins to give the Teddy R‘s crew something to live for — he shows them discipline and respect, neither of which they expected again.
Several other episodes convince the crew that true leadership is creativity, recognizing good faith effort, and both the desire and will to take action as needed. Cole’s physique is not imposing, so he must use his intellect to piece together tiny details to win the day.
Ultimately, however, no good deed goes unpunished, even after saving over 5 million lives. And one cannot constantly show one’s superiors as incompetent and illogical, especially when it is done somewhat disrespectfully.
Resnick sets this novel in the earlier period of the Birthright universe (see my review here). Mankind is still in its ascendancy, but alien races are members of the crew if still somewhat second class citizens. Cole is notable for his unabashed non-bias against aliens; in fact, his best friend is a alien with an equal level of sardonic-ism. He can quickly assess the strengths and weaknesses of each member of his crew regardless of his, her, or its origin.
It was pleasant not to have to follow complicated techno-babble or have to understand deep science concepts to follow the plot. Instead, Resnick highlights leaps of logic and intuition.
The book is fast paced and witty — enjoyable but not overly deep. It reminds me of Resnick’s own Birthright novel in tone, as well as Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet series (see my review here), and Keith Laumer’s Retief stories. If you enjoyed the Honor Harrington novels by David Weber (book 1 is On Basilisk Station), you’ll likely enjoy this one too.
5 out of 5 stars (finished February 20, 2011)
Currently reading: Dark Fire by C.J. Sansom, Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris, Daggerspell by Katherine Kerr, & Starship: Pirate by Mike Resnick